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Wisconsin awaits NBA decision from Nigel Hayes

With the May 25 deadline looming, Nigel Hayes continues to work out for NBA teams while the odds of his return to Wisconsin increase.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The conclusion of the 2016 NBA Draft Combine last Sunday signaled the beginning of the final phase of Nigel Hayes' trial run through the draft process. It also means the end is in sight for Wisconsin Badgers fans playing the waiting game.

Hayes has one more week to weigh his future options before making a final decision to stay in the draft or return to Wisconsin. He indicated in interviews that he'd wait until the last minute to make up his mind, based on the idea that it only takes one team to decide they want him. If he gets a guarantee he'll be drafted by an NBA team before May 25, Hayes will leave.

Until then, Hayes will be keeping busy as usual. In between completing his end of semester finals, attending the combine in Chicago, and continuing to workout for NBA teams, Hayes has a full plate.

The junior forward, who measured out at 6'7.25" in shoes, worked out for the Atlanta Hawks last week and reportedly has scheduled workouts with Boston (today), Phoenix, Utah and New York to come. The Celtics hold eight picks in the upcoming draft and all told, could kick the tires on nearly 100 players, while the Knicks have zero selections as of today.

After two nondescript showings at combine scrimmages over the weekend, it is very likely Hayes will come back for his senior season. On Monday, Hayes and his camp were refuting speculation that he had already decided to return to school.

In addition to verifying his height, Hayes showed off an impressive 7'3" wingspan and weighed in as one of the heaviest prospects in attendance to participate. After going through shooting drills and athletic testing with mixed success, Hayes tallied a total of four points, one rebound and four assists in 39 minutes over two scrimmages. Though he admitted he doesn't typically excel in a "camp-type environment," Hayes has not wavered in confidence.

As expected, Hayes did stand out at the combine in the interview department. The business finance major sounded intelligent and thoughtful as usual, giving the player's perspective on the new rules which are allowing him to test the draft waters this season on a more relaxed and well-informed timeline.

"I think it's a win-win situation for all of the parties involved. The NBA gets a chance to see future prospects and potential prospects and evaluate them earlier with a more hands on approach. The college kids get to see if they're good enough if an NBA team wants them, and if that isn't the case they can find out what they need to work on, they can go back to their college team help themselves become better and help the team become better."

Despite saying he sees value in being able to consult with agents, Hayes has his mother, Talaya Davis, playing the role of "agent" these days in order to retain his college eligibility. Though Davis has expressed her desire for Hayes to get his degree, Hayes will have plenty of support either way.

However, Hayes continue to be left off most major mock draft boards for the 2016 NBA Draft, which will go down June 23 in New York.

Unless Hayes shows scouts something spectacular in his upcoming workouts, expect him to return to Madison for one final season. That means Badger Nation can stop holding their breath and gear up for another special season next fall.

NBA Draft Combine Vitals - Nigel Hayes


Height (no shoes) Height (w/shoes) Weight Body Fat Hand Width Hand Length Standing Reach Wingspan
6'6.25" 6'7.25" 245 lb 10.9% 9.5 in. 8.5 in. 8'5.5" 7'3"
Shooting Drills
Left Wing 3 Right Wing 3 Left Corner 3 Right Corner 3 Top of Key 3
80% 20% 60% 80% 60%
Left Wing 15-ft Right Wing 15-ft Left Baseline 15-ft Right Baseline 15-ft FT Line Jumper
40% 80% 40% 40% 60%
Off Dribble Left Off Dribble Right Wing Off Dribble FT Line Moving College 3s Moving 15-ftrs
33.3% 66.7% 33.3% 60% 63.6%
Athletic Testing
Lane Agility Shuttle Run 3/4-Court Sprint Standing Vertical Max Vertical
12.11 secs 2.9 secs 3.2 secs 31.5" 34.5"